It’s been almost two years since director Andy Muschietti’s adaptation Stephen King’s novel, “IT” hit theaters and took the world by storm. Now, the sequel, IT Chapter 2 is upon us. For those unfamiliar with the story, the evil clown known as Pennywise has returned to Derry, 27 years after he first tormented The Losers’ Club. Since their initial interactions with Pennywise, the former group of friends have drifted apart from one another. I will preface this review by saying I wasn’t too familiar with the book itself. Therefore, this review will be based off the original TV mini-series and the 2017’s IT.
The film starts off with a tragic event that is ripped from straight from the novel which alerts Mike (Isaiah Mustafa) to something be very wrong. Since Mike never left Derry, he remembers everything – which includes the pact he and the other Losers’ Club members made. This pact meant they would all venture back to Derry if Pennywise ever returned; to defeat him once and for all. We see Mike track down all the former members of the club one-by-one, and let them know they must return. Each of the members have very different reactions to the news, but they all have one feeling in common when they hear it: fear.
We cannot talk about this movie without mentioning its stellar cast. I’ll start with Jessica Chastain as Beverly Marsh. After seeing this movie, I couldn’t see anyone but Chastain in this role. She was able to convey the same innocence and mysteriousness as her younger counterpart, and it was a treat to watch. James McAvoy delivered an incredible performance. You could tell that he definitely did his research when preparing for this role. His stutter was practically identical to Jaeden Lieberher’s version of Bill. There is a scene shown in the trailer where McAvoy’s Bill is in the funhouse going up against Pennywise. When you see that full scene in action, you will be blown away – not only by McAvoy’s performance, but you’ll also probably be a little traumatized by Bill Skarsgård’s performance as Pennywise. The adult version of Mike played by Mustafa has a lot more to do in this movie in comparison to his younger counterpart in the first film. We were seeing the movie through his eyes at first, and seeing him slowly connect all the pieces was awesome to watch. Mustafa is a great actor and I’m glad to see him starring in bigger roles.
Coming into this movie I knew Bill Hader was going to deliver an incredible performance as adult Richie, but I was not expecting him to be the scene stealer. Hader has wide range of acting credits under his belt, from SNL, to Skeleton Twins, to Barry, Hader has shown he is more than just a comedian. He displayed so many different complex emotions as Richie that I wouldn’t be surprised if he got nominated for an Academy Award for his performance. I wasn’t too familiar with Jay Ryan before this movie, but he’s definitely another actor to look out for after this movie. I don’t know how, but out of all the cast he looks most like his younger counterpart (played by Jeremy Ray Taylor). I really enjoyed his chemistry with Chastain; they worked really well together. Coming from Sinister franchise, James Ransone is no stranger to horror. Besides Hader, Ransone was one of the funniest parts of the film, while also delivering some of the movie’s best heartfelt and sincere moments. Last but not least is Andy Bean. Although he didn’t get much screen time, what he did with the material he was given was impactful and really helped the story during crucial moments. Since I was so used to the Losers’ Club as kids, it took me a moment to become adjusted to their adult counterparts. However, the casting directors did an incredible job of casting the older versions of the characters. The cast worked so well with one another, you’d think they were actually childhood friends growing up.
IT Chapter 2 has a runtime of 169 minutes (or 2 hours and 49 minutes). Due to this being the end and grand conclusion, the length did seem appropriate. However, I will say the film does slow down a bit in the second act (when you watch it you’ll know exactly what I mean). That’s one of my only main complaints. I felt the editors could have made cut out about 20 minutes of it, and it’d still have the same impact as it did. Once the third act starts, it feels like a nonstop horror-thriller with memorable scares and incredible visuals that will stay in your brain for a while. I’m not the biggest horror fan, and I truly appreciated the risk and ambitiousness this film was willing to take for the fans.
I might love the first movie a little bit more, but I still thoroughly enjoyed this movie as a whole. Andy Muschietti did a great job of not only staying faithful to the source material, but also adding fresh spins and ideas to this adaptation of a Stephen King classic. If you’re a fan of the first movie (like me), you’ll love this sequel.
Be sure to catch The Losers’ Club and Pennywise when IT Chapter 2 hits theaters on September 6, 2019.